Posts Tagged ‘James Bond’

Creating a good protagonist, and why James Bond is a permanent teenager . . .

Chris Bunch and Allan Cole wrote the Sten Chronicles –  one of the truly classic military science fiction series. As of this week, you can now buy the entire series (that’s eight books!) in these three gorgeous Orbit omnibus editions in print and ebook – that’s BATTLECRY (UK|ANZ), JUGGERNAUT (UK|ANZ) and DEATH MATCH (UK|ANZ).

Read on to find out in Allan’s words how he and Chris created the eponymous Sten, and to find out a bit more about how to come up with a multi-book protagonist of your own.

all three omnibuses in the Sten series of space opera adventures

Chris Bunch and I went about breaking into book-world with the same fervor that we attacked Hollywood. Young and dumb as we were, we thought we could conjure up the key to literary success that has eluded countless wannabe writers, past, present and future.

The first thing, we decided, was that if we came up with a series – instead of a standalone novel – there was more of a chance that all the books would remain in print. A little bit true at the time, but mostly wishful thinking these days.

Then we looked at the genre markets. Westerns? We dearly loved Westerns. But in those days – both in books and the movies – the Oater, as they called it, was done. Westerns just weren’t selling.

Detectives, then? We were ardent fans of Chandler and Hammett – all the hard boiled guys. Again, at the time mysteries and detective stories had a limited, if passionate, audience. A flurry of rack sales, then the local library, where the sale of one book serves a legion of readers, but does not impress your banker one damn bit.

We finally settled on Science Fiction – fantasy was still waiting for Terry Brooks to break that genre out of the doldrums. Plus we had been ardent science fiction readers since childhood.

Next, we examined the nature of book series. In our opinion, there was a tendency for writers to grow to despise their main characters after a few books.

Sir Arthur came to hate Holmes so much that he killed him. The storm over that literary assassination eventually led to Holmes’ miraculous revival. Agatha Christie loathed Poirot, but wisely let him live. Ian Fleming killed James Bond in FROM RUSSIA WITH LOVE, only to resurrect 007 in DR. NO to appease his publishers and fans. And so on. There are countless examples. (more…)

Civilisation: are we doomed? SKYFALL and 3 other ways of looking at it . . .

The poster for the latest Sam Mendes bond movie Skyfall, starring Daniel CraigLast weekend, along with millions of other people I’m sure, I went to see the latest Sam Mendes Bond movie, SKYFALL. I found the film highly entertaining – with some very impressive action scenes, a slickest of slick opening sequence, a surprisingly believable plot (for an action movie I mean…), and a rather irresistible performance from the easy-on-the-eye Daniel Craig.

But I also found it interesting (with my Orbit hat on) that this time, 007 wasn’t having to save the world by disarming a nuclear warhead (think MOONRAKER or THUNDERBALL) or stopping the spread of a deadly virus (think ON HER MAJESTY’S SECRET SERVICE) or prevent an evil communist plot (think CASINO ROYALE and a whole host of other Bonds).

This time, Bond’s role was to combat the destruction looming from the leak of confidential information – by the world’s most sophisticated cyber-terrorist. Highly believable in this age of Wikileaks and hackers being potentially extradited for infiltrating US military systems.

It seems that the disasters befalling the various James Bonds have been evolving through the years – seemingly to keep up with the ways in which our world, our technology and our political and social struggles have been constantly changing. Because it appears that as we progress as a species, the potential pitfalls waiting to bring down Western world and civilisation itself seem to be constantly evolving too – and growing dangerously more numerous by the day. (more…)